Austin lawyer among candidates announced for judge post

Published 2:42 pm Monday, April 25, 2011

Jeff Kritzer, an Austin attorney and school board member, could add judge to his job description if Gov. Mark Dayton so chooses.

Kritzer is among four southern Minnesota candidates announced by the Commission on Judicial Selection Thursday to fill the current vacancy in Minnesota’s 3rd Judicial District, which includes Freeborn, Mower and Steele Counties. Candidate recommendations were sent to Dayton’s office, according to a press release.

“All of these candidates have a wealth of experience and will be a great asset to the community if selected,” said Randy Kehr, a member of the commission that made the recommendation, in a press release.

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The announcement of the candidates comes after Freeborn County District Court Judge John A. Chesterman retired in January.

Further interviews will be conducted during the next few weeks and the position will ultimately be appointed by the governor.

Dayton stated in a previous news release that he will make the appointment based on integrity, maturity, health, judicial temperament, legal knowledge, ability, experience and community service.

Jeffrey Kritzer, a partner at Baudler, Baudler, Maus & Blahnik LLP in Austin, who lives in Moscow Township. Kritzer practices in both civil and criminal law. Prior to this, he was a corporate attorney for the Hormel Foods Corp. He also serves on the Austin Public School Board and was president of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Jennifer Dunn-Foster, the assistant county attorney for Steele County, who currently resides in Owatonna. Dunn-Foster is primarily responsible for child and adult protection, medical assistance enforcement and criminal prosecutions and has previously served as president of the 5th District Bar Association.

She has also worked as a volunteer attorney for Steele County Habitat for Humanity.

Ross Leuning, a command judge advocate for the U.S. Navy, who is currently serving in Iraq but who is from Owatonna. Leuning also works as the senior assistant Olmsted County attorney and was previously with the Walbran & Furness law firm.

He served as a military judge and appellate prosecution counsel in the Navy Reserve. He has also worked with the State Bar Association’s Wills for Heroes program.

Kevin Siefken, a lawyer with Christian & Peterson law firm in Albert Lea. He resides in Albert Lea. Siefken has previously worked as a public defender for the 3rd Judicial District and is an advisory board member and past chairman of the Albert Lea Salvation Army. He is the president of the Ascension Lutheran Church congregation.